With the opening of its largest shopping centre yet, Suzhou Center Mall, Singapore retail-estate company CapitaLand has marked a record year of a million square metres of retail space.
More than three times the size of Ion Orchard in Singapore, the mall is also the largest shopping centre in the Chinese city. It spans nearly 300,000sqm in gross floor area (GFA), excluding car park.
More than 600 retail brands are housed within the mall, in the heart of the western CBD of Suzhou Industrial Park, next to the historic Jinji Lake. It is the centrepiece of the Suzhou Center integrated development that also comprises four grade-A office towers, two luxury residential towers and the W Suzhou hotel tower, which are all interconnected.
With a total GFA of 1.13 million square metres served by a 1570m tunnel leading to its basement car park and directly linked to two metro lines, Suzhou Center was master developed by Suzhou Hengtai Holding Group, owned by the Suzhou Industrial Park.
CapitaLand, through its wholly owned shopping business CapitaLand Mall Asia, is co-owner and co-developer for the mall and two 21-storey office towers.
Designed by multiple award-winning architectural firm Benoy, the seven-storey Suzhou Center Mall has an undulating roof that is the world’s largest free-form monocoque roof at more than 36,000sqm. Shaped like a pair of phoenix wings to symbolise Suzhou’s growth taking flight, the multi-coloured roof comprises 6947 pieces of uniquely shaped glass.
Suzhou Center Mall also boasts 60,000sqm of greenery across terraces, rooftops and the landscaped cantilever bridges that extend from two ends of the mall to the lakefront. A 45m-wide, 25m-high water curtain is a feature of the mall’s facade facing Jinji Lake.
The mall opened with more than 90 per cent lease commitment for its net lettable area of about 152,000sqm. Anchor tenants include more than 600 brands including Suzhou’s first CGV cinemas, its first Fanpekka children’s theme park, first indoor simulated gaming centre, an Olympic-size ice rink, a gourmet supermarket and a food court.
Nearly a third of the mall’s offerings are new to Suzhou, including Forever 21 and Victoria’s Secret. H&M and Zara will run triplex stores in the mall, their biggest outlets in the city.
CapitaLand says that with the opening of Suzhou Center Mall, 61 of its total portfolio of 69 owned and managed malls in China are up and running.
CapitaLand CEO Lim Ming Yan says the mall’s opening caps a record year for the company. “Nearly 1 million square metres of retail GFA across eight developments came on line this year, marking our largest-ever retail offering in a single year.”
CapitaLand Mall Asia CEO Jason Leow says that about 85 per cent of the group’s total assets contribute to recurring income, of which shopping malls and integrated developments form the bulk. “As we increase CapitaLand’s recurring income base with mall openings, we will also continue to enhance our retail scale and network through acquisitions and management contracts, as well as reconstitute our portfolio to achieve an optimal asset mix.”